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Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, Lamb of God, Unearth
Saratoga Winners, Thursday

Just to prove that metal never went away, MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball is back on the air (on M2), and some emissaries have been sent out on tour to herald the news with precision musicianship and sheer might. The three headliners will rotate nightly, an example for the kids that sharing is nice. The ball makes its way to Saratoga Winners tonight (Thursday), with Killswitch Engage (ex-Overcast and ex-Aftershock) blending thrash metal and hardcore sludge, Lamb of God keeping the rock heavy and Shadows Fall (their first night of the tour) providing their progressive and melodic read of metal. Lamb of God, recently signed to Epic, are interestingly the only band on the bill not from Massachusetts. Intense hardcore act Unearth, who recently signed to Metal Blade, will open up on this tour. All four bands are also featured on the hefty 40-song tour compilation out on Roadrunner. (Oct. 30, 8 PM, $18, $16 advance, 783-1010)

Raekwon
Pearl Street Nightclub, Northampton, Mass., Thursday

Rapper Raekwon is often re- ferred to as Raekwon the Chef because, in his own words, he’s “always cooking up some marvelous shit to get your mouth watering.” You may not be inclined to take this boast to heart right away, but if we point out that Raekwon is the member of the hard-hiphop collective known as Wu-Tang Clan with the most serious underground cred, perhaps you’ll reconsider. Though not as commercially successful as his cohorts Method Man and Ol’ Dirty Bastard (aka Big Baby Jesus, aka Dirt McGirt, etc.), Raekwon has won serious props for his own ventures, particularly the ’95 release Built Only for Cuban Linx, on which he reinvented his Wu fellows as mafiosos: the Wu-Gambinos. We don’t know whether he’ll hit the Pearl Street stage tonight (Thursday) as Raekwon, Raekwon the Chef or as Lou Diamonds, but we’ll bet your mouth is watering. Also on the bill are People Under the Stairs, C-Rayz Walz, Cunninlynguists and Ice Water Inc. (Oct. 30, 7 PM, $23, $20 advance, 800-THE-TICK)

Stanley Jordan
The van dyck, saturday

Guitarist Stanley Jordan is re garded as the first “touch virtuoso” in the world of stringed instruments. A 1981 Princeton graduate with a degree in music theory and composition, Jordan became well-known as a street musician before being signed to Blue Note Records and producing the enormously successful Magic Touch in 1985. Jordan is credited with developing the innovative, two-handed technique called “touch” (or “tap”) guitar, in which the fretboards are struck to sound notes. Using this technique, one musician is able to create a complex, multiple- instrument sound, playing a guitar in similar fashion to a keyboard, and making it possible to play more than one guitar simultaneously. While Jordan’s rise to musical fame during the mid-1980s was followed by a wandering path through various musical genres, he has released more than a dozen albums, including several Grammy-nominated jazz and blues recordings, as well as the June 2003 release, Dreams of Peace (Nicolosi Productions). Jordan will give two performances at the Van Dyck on Saturday. (Nov. 1, 7 and 9:30 PM, $22, 381-1111)

Eels, MC Honky
Northern Lights, Saturday
Pearl Street NIghtclub, Northampton, Mass., Sunday

E is an enigmatic cat, with quirky tunes and alter-egos to prove it. In Eels, E hones his songsmithing, generating challenging pop in volume. This summer Eels released their fifth studio album, Shootenanny (DreamWorks), which is somewhat dirtier than their last. Legend says MC Honky is an aging, ex-Capital Records janitor and engineer who forsook his major-label slaving for pottery. At an Eels show, MC Honky’s daughter apparently slipped E a tape of her pop’s audio collages, and E was sold. E speaks in interviews for MC Honky, and his new album I Am The Messiah (SpinArt) was produced by E. So, is MC Honky really E getting his scratching and sampling kicks? You’ll have to see for yourself when they hit Northern Lights on Saturday and Pearl Street in Northampton, Mass., on Sunday. (Northern Lights: Nov. 1, 8 PM, $20, $18 advance, 432-6572; Pearl Street: Nov. 2, 8:30 PM, $18, $15 advance,800-THE-TICK)

Badly Drawn Boy
The Iron Horse, Northampton, Mass., Saturday
The Egg, Tuesday

British singer-songwriter Damon Gough is known musically as Badly Drawn Boy—a name he took from a ’70s cartoon on TV, Sam and His Magic Ball (allegedly the main character’s dilemma of not only having to exist as a drawing, but also as a bad drawing struck a note with Gough). The BDB moniker also refers to whatever lineup Gough may put together for live shows, but when Badly Drawn Boy pass through our area (on Saturday at the Iron Horse in Northampton, Mass, and on Tuesday at the Egg in Albany), it’ll be Gough alone. BDB began in 1997 when Gough and Andy Votel formed the Twisted Nerve label, created to release BDB’s lo-fi chamber-pop tunes. The first two EPs issued on Twisted Nerve, now out of print and showing no sign of resurfacing, are so highly sought they can fetch quite a high price. His first longplayer for the label, 2000’s The Hour of Bewilderbeast, gained the artist further critical attention (and commercial: The single “The Shining” was on a Gap commercial). Following that, BDB wrote the music for the 2002 film About a Boy, and released a third LP, Have You Fed the Fish?, that same year. The Northampton show kicks of his East Coast tour. (Iron Horse: Nov. 1, 7 and 10 PM, $23, $20 advance, 800-THE-TICK; Egg: Nov. 4, 8 PM, $17.50, 473-1845)

Magnolia Electric Co., knotworking, Katie Haverly
Valentine’s, Tuesday

You may better know Magnolia Electric Co. as Songs: Ohia. That’s the moniker under which guitarist Jason Molina captured the attention of the indie-rock in-crowd back in the late ’90s. Drawing comparisons to neo-hillbilly Will Oldham for his rural grittiness and to Neil Young for his poignant lyrical explorations, Molina has gained a reputation as a songwriter’s songwriter. But Molina is no studio-bound claustrophobe comfortable only knob-twirling. Equal to fans’ appreciation of his writerly chops is the enthusiasm for the way Molina sells the sentiment in a live setting. Typified by one critic as a “broken drawl,” Molina’s voice is perfectly suited to his words of hardscrabble spirit and knock-down-drag-out blue-collar blues. Also playing will be Albany’s own rough-and-tumble troubadours knotworking and singer-songwriter Katie Haverly. (Nov. 4, 7:30 PM, $10, 432-6572)


 also noted
Renowned multi-instrumen- talist David Bromberg has had a long and successful career as a solo artist—he was sought out to play with the likes of Chubby Checker, Bob Dylan and Jerry Jeff Walker as a young man—and he’ll bring his band to the Egg tomorrow (Friday), with fiddle-guitar duo Jay Ungar & Molly Mason opening (8:15 PM, $26, 473-1848). . . . Fusing metal, punk and hardcore, the Dillinger Escape Plan hope to pound and amaze the crowd at Saratoga Winners on Saturday, with the Bronx, Dead Rabbits (composed of members of Stigmata, Ill Remembered and the Clay People) and Big Collapse opening (8 PM, $14, $12.50 advance, 783-1010). . . . Get rested up for a whole day of blues music on Saturday, because Everyday’s in Colonie will hold a blues memorial for Steve Katz with music from noon to midnight featuring Blue Hand Luke, Blues Noir, Tom Healy, Charlie Smith, Little Sammy Davis, George Boone, Alan Payette Band, Folding Sky, Glenn Weiser, Stratosphere and a host of others performing (869-0494, noon). . . . It’s guitar night at Savannah’s on Saturday, and strapping them on will be rockabilly saviors Mark Gamsjager and Graham Tichy, who will perform with their band the Lustre Kings, and Americana pioneer Bill Kirchen, with his band Too Much Fun. Plan to expect just that—too much fun—as well as some lineup switching and unrehearsed jams (10 PM, $7, 432-7348). . . . A handful of our area’s foremost rockers, in the form of three bands—the Highsocks, Complicated Shirt and Already Taken—will perform acoustically at the Larkin on Sunday (8 PM, $5, 463-5225). . . . Mega-award-winning bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley returns to our area, with his Clinch Mountain Boys of course, to the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on Sunday, with soul-searching singer-songwriter Iris DeMent opening (7 PM, $26 and $29, 273-0038). . . . On Tuesday, NYC-based jazz ensemble Hot House Jazz will play the Hilton Performing Arts Center; the Sonny & Perley Band, with special guest saxophonist Alan Darcy, will open (8 PM, $10-$15, 453-1048).

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